POLICE Scotland has confirmed the arrests of 24 people after Animal Rising supporters attempted to stop the Scottish Grand National, despite an increased security presence.

Animal rights protesters stormed the Ayr Racecourse by climbing the fence and invading the track ahead of the £200,000 race.

The group, which last week delayed the start of the Grand National at Aintree, said activists were “attempting to attach themselves to jumps and gates” to stop the race, which Jack Tudor-ridden Kitty’s Light went on to win.

The protest also failed to delay the event, with the off time in the 18-horse race recorded as 3.38pm.

READ MORE: Kitty’s Light wins for Wales in the Scottish National

Police Scotland said: "Following the conclusion of the operation at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 22 April 2023, the total number of people arrested and charged is 24. All are in connection with a breach of the peace.

"They have all been released, and are due to appear at Ayr Sheriff Court on Monday, 5 June, 2023."

Sarah McCaffrey, of Animal Rising, said last week’s protest ahead of the Grand National in Aintree started a “crucial conversation about our relationship with animals and nature”.

She said: “Today we continue that conversation. As a society, we love animals, but we have to find a way to care for them without harming them,” the protester said.

The National: A number of activists were arrested on Saturday, and later chargedA number of activists were arrested on Saturday, and later charged (Image: PA)

“This conversation is particularly important in Scotland where we have so much potential for nature and wildlife to thrive.

“We can all build a world that we are proud to be part of.

“An end to horse racing, as well as a transition to a plant-based food system, are key elements of this kinder, safer future.”


There was an increased security presence in Ayr due to last week’s protest where 118 arrests were made by Merseyside Police.

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But yesterday it was just a handful of protesters who took part, and Ayr’s managing director David Brown praised the swift action of the police and security teams on course.

“The race went off to time, there was no notable delay and the professionalism of the team up here in Scotland was a credit to them, they dealt with it in a very efficient manner,” he said.

“What a great race it was and a great story, for Christian Williams to win it for the second year in a row with Kitty’s Light after he finished second last year. I think for me this is Scotland’s showpiece race and it all ran to time.”